How to make marshmallows…at home.

In the world we live in these days, we’ve become accustomed to convenience and buying things ready made for us in a packet, can, bag or whatever other creative packaging companies use to sell their preservative-full products at supermarkets and stores. I still get surprised looks from people when I say custard isn’t made from a powder or that you can make ice cream from scratch at home. One of those other things I get surprised looks about is marshmallows. Such a simple sweet to make yet very few people actually ever attempt it or even believe they can be made without buying them in a packet.

A few weeks ago I made red velvet sweetie pies which I iced with marshmallow dipped in chocolate. I posted the pictures on Instagram and on my twitter page and was asked how marshmallow can be made fresh, from scratch. Hence this post.

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My red velvet sweetie pies topped with marshmallow dipped in chocolate

Please note that whenever making any sweet you’ll be working with either boiling water or very hot sugar. A sugar burn is one of the worst burns you can get, so please be careful. Don’t make these with your kids! Let them enjoy them afterwards. You’ll need a standing whisk which has a metal bowl, you can use a plastic bowl too but I find the mixture works better and cools down faster in a metal bowl. You’ll also need a sugar thermometer. There is a difference between a sugar thermometer and a standard cooking thermometer. To prevent you constantly sticking your hands into the pot with a stick thermometer and possibly getting burnt I highly recommend you get yourself a sugar thermometer. It stands in the pot on its own and has helpful labels telling you of the different stages the sugar is at. I’d explain the stages of sugar but that’s a whole other lecture. Let’s keep this simple for now. So, herewith the marshmallow recipe…

Ingredients

– 455g Castor sugar
– 1 tbsp liquid glucose
– 200 water
– 2 large free-range egg whites
– 9 sheets gelatine (about 16g) soaked in 140ml water
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– corn flour and icing sugar, for dusting and coating

Method:
1. Place the sugar, glucose and the cold water in a thick based metal pot on the stove and place your sugar thermometer in the pot. Allow the mixture to heat up til it reaches 127°C… (never ever stir sugar whilst it is heating up, this will cause it to crystallize. If you see the sugar is burning on one side or isn’t simmering evenly then rather gently turn the pot or lower your heat. Never stir)
2. Separately to the simmering sugar, on a double boiler (a pot of simmering water which you place another bowl over), melt the gelatine and water and add the vanilla extract to the mixture.
3. When your sugar has reached about 120°C start beating your egg whites in the mixer, by the time your sugar has reached 127°C your eggs should be at stiff peak, if they aren’t stiff yet then beat at a faster setting.
4. Gently slip your gelatine and water into the sugar pour the mixture into a metal jug.
5. Slowly and carefully pour the hot sugar into the mixer whilst it beats the egg whites, you want a slow but steady stream, don’t pour it in too fast.
6. After you’ve added all your sugar/gelatine your mixture should be glossy and sticky now. Keep whisking the mixture for about 5 minutes. This adds air to the marshmallow and also helps cool it down faster.
7. Mix the corn flour and icing sugar together and  generously sprinkle half of it onto a pan lined with grease proof paper. Pour your marshmallow mixture into the tin. Alternatively you can scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe in into small nicely shaped marshmallows on the wax paper. Once done, sprinkle the rest of the icing sugar and corn flour mixture over the marshmallow.
7. Set aside to cool completely. If you chose to make the tin style marshmallow, you’ll need to cut it into blocks and roll each marshmallow in more icing sugar and corn starch.

Note: it is essential you get the temperature of the sugar precise, sugar reacts differently and does different things at different temperatures/stages. Do this recipe when you are 100% free from any distractions and have the time to focus solely on the task.

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